On the 17th of November, 2021, the Twitter account Lee Ann Quann reported that the Vietnamese Army was in the midst of testing a brand new homemade UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle). The tweet included a video of what appears to be a cobbled-together unmanned treaded miniature drive section with an AK pattern rifle mounted to the top of the vehicle via an articulating gimble. According to the tweet, the PAVN intends to use the UGV as a “sentry” that would flush infiltrators from trenches to reduce battlefield casualties.
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Vietnam Army Testing AK-Equipped UGV To Reduce Casualties
From what I could gather from the string of tweets from Lee Ann Quann, the UGV being tested is the result of a military-sponsored DIY project which seems to be making extensive use of commonly available components and materials to create a more cost-effective version of the country’s already existing RBB-01 UGV. The RBB-01 was developed by the Defense Technology Institute – a sub-organization within the General Department of Defense Industry, Ministry of National Defense. While the new UGV is sporting an AK pattern rifle, the RBB-01 featured a much larger chassis/drive section and a much smaller weapon, making use of what appears to be a suppressed UZI.
The new UGV appears to be controlled by simple radio controls and guided by visual means from what appears to be a Bluetooth-operated camera mounted to the rear of the receiver. The recoil of the weapon is mitigated via onboard springs that are there to presumably lessen the shock to the vehicle, however, the recoil observed seems almost enough to flip the small vehicle over despite the recoil absorbing mechanism.
From the videos posted, only two brief tests can be seen, one in which a conscript is seen advancing towards the contraption with a dummy enemy target with the drone firing (presumably) blanks at the target. The other videos show the rig being test-fired, demonstrating the back heavy construction and that the firearm onboard is indeed remotely operated. Although the new unmanned vehicle is rudimentary compared to a lot of the drones and vehicles we often see here in western countries, the fact that these UGVs are being manufactured from commonly available parts means that the PAVN could potentially deploy these en masse to patrol trenches near conflict zones.
The recoil absorbing mechanism kind of works here. However, it's only able to sustain short bursts. Anything more and the UGV would flip. pic.twitter.com/dOu7i261GR
— Lee Ann Quann (@AnnQuann) November 17, 2021